I have to say, unlike many graduates, I had a great job before becoming a nurse. I was a mailman. BEST. JOB. EVER. But I wasn’t exactly challenged (dogs notwithstanding) and winters are long. So at 38 I went part time at the post office and started at RRC full time. I graduated in three years after doing my practicum in the ER at St. Boniface. Very cool, very intense. Not for me. I took every instructors’ advice ever and took a position in medicine as a float. I was told I would “build up a good base” and I was told true. In acute medicine you learn ALL the things, I kid you not. But I missed being a mailman and the heart wants what it wants. So when I learned about a nursing job where I get to go outside and wear a bag on my shoulder I jumped to it.
Homecare nurse for the WRHA. Your patients aren’t acutely ill enough for hospital care but need a nurse nonetheless. I got a position in the downtown core and was told/warned that there is “no life like it” (or maybe that was when I joined the army?) and that was accurate. Meeting patients and really getting to know them over the year and a half I worked in the core was memorable to say the least. Most often you do wound care or chronic illness management, but it’s a real mixed bag.
When I started, my new boss said “It’s less technical than the hospital but I swear it’s one of the only nursing jobs you work to the full scope of your practice.” He did not exaggerate. Psych, social, physical, spiritual and on and on. You can’t just poke your head out into the hall and ask “Doc, wanna take a look at this?” You’re the guy (or gal) getting stuff done all by your lonesome and the patient sometimes only has the homecare nurse to rely on. No family, no GP, no nothing.
I most recently switched to the community IV program. It’s part of the same WRHA program but specializes in people who need IV care/medications and wound care. I spend some shifts in the clinic and some in the community, nice balance and I can stay indoors when it’s -30.
What I’d like to say to students that might be helpful is that waaay to often you will see nurses who stay in a job long after they have decided they hate it. Bad for mental health, bad for patients. Find a better fit! Start today! Some nurses LOVE jobs that won’t be for you and you may love a job that other nurses think you’re crazy to love. One of the best things about your new career is that you can do anything you want in virtually any place on Earth, why settle?!
Post written by Derek – CIVP RN – RRC Graduate 2016